For breast cancer survivors tired of pink ribbons and “forced cheerful” cancer wear, Mindy Sterling has a more realistic — even cynical — take on cancer survival. The character actress best known as Frau Farbissina in the “Austin Powers” series is bringing an edge to survivor schmatta with Attitude Tee.
T-shirt slogans include: “Cancer Rack” and “In Remission — Been There, Done That.” For oft-forgotten men who schlep their wives and partners to doctor visits and chemo: “Looks Like She’s Gunna Live… So Much For That Life Insurance.”
“Cancer creates an instant bond, something that ignites sharing. When people read these sayings on a T-shirt, they smile,” said Sterling, who will greet fans at the Attitude Tee booth on July 22 during Comic-Con in San Diego.
After receiving a cancer diagnosis in 1998, Sterling spent much of the following year undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Her friend and Attitude Tee partner Renae Mahar finished the last of her surgeries this past May. The two friends launched the apparel line — which includes shirts, tank tops and hats — as a fundraiser, a coping mechanism and as a way of opening the lines of communication between survivors.
“We were both sick of people asking if we were OK, or looking at us with pity in their eyes,” Sterling told GeekHeeb. “We wanted to make it OK for people to talk about.”
In addition to her fashion line, Sterling has remained active in other fundraising for cancer research. Earlier this week, she announced plans to host and star in a performance of Alex Scolari’s “The Girly Show” to benefit the UCLA Breast Center for Breast Cancer Research. The all-female song and dance revue will take place Sept. 10 at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood.
As far as a fourth “Austin Powers” film, Sterling says she would reprise her role as Frau Farbissina “in a heartbeat.”